The Americans took off on day 2 of the 2nd International Meeting of the Mediterranean in Maresille on Saturday, and the result was a pair of sub-22 second 50 freestyles.
In a matchup of the Olympic race we never got to see, the 50 between Nathan Adrian and eventual champion Florent Manaudou, the American won in 21.75, leaving Manaudou 2nd in 21.83.
Behind them were Anthony Ervin in 22.01 and Fred Bousquet in 22.14. In a battle of a pair from Cal, and a pair from Mareseille, it was the Berkeley boys who will take bragging rights, for now at least. Poland’s Konrad Czerniak was 5th in 22.67.
Neither Adrian nor Manaudou was a season-best in that swim; but this will be a mental edge for Adrian because as far as we can tell, the two have never before raced head-to-head in this event. Certainly not since they became the world’s two Olympic sprint champions and premier speed men.
In the women’s race, It was Great Britain’s best Fran Halsall who won in 24.91, making her just the second woman globally this year under 25 seconds in long course (Cate Campbell from Australia is the other). American Natalie Coughlin was 2nd in 25.52 and Amy Smith was 3rd in 25.72. Halsall is still just 22 years old and has a real chance to do some damage headed toward Rio. For Coughlin, that’s actually her fastest time since 2008, though she doesn’t swim this race all that often.
She alsoo topped the 100 fly with a 58.37, beating Spain’s Judit Ignacio and Mireia Belmonte: both of whom failed to break a minute. That’s a world-leader for Halsall, as she’s probably at the beginning of a small rest cycle for next weekend’s British Open Championships.
In other racing, Great Britain’s Liam Tancock won the 200 back in 2:02.77, with no Camille Lacourt (who historically is a much better 200 backstroker than Tancock). For a sprinter, the Brit actually split that race fairly well, going 58.6-1:04.1. For a sprinter, anyway.
The aforementioned Czerniak came back to win the 100 fly with a 53,19, besting Spain’s Rafael Munoz at 53.86.